The CEO of Garuda Indonesia (GA, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has held talks with a senior Kazakhstan government official about the prospects of opening a transit hub in that country and potential fifth freedom flights.

According to an official Kazak government news release, CEO Irfan Setiaputra meet with Kazakhstan's ambassador to Indonesia, Daniyar Sarekenov, on May 4 to discuss starting flights on the country pair, and using one of Kazakhstan's airports as a jumping off point for Garuda Indonesia flights further afield.

Following the meeting, Setiaputra said his airline would initially team up with Kazak majority-owned state-owned carrier Air Astana (KC, Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev) to offer flights between Denpasar and Almaty via Seoul Incheon. However, no details about start dates or frequencies were provided. No airline presently operates on the Indonesia - Kazakhstan country pair, although both carriers currently fly to Seoul Incheon.

"The launch of this flight is considered as a pilot project between the Kazakh and Indonesian parties with the prospect of projecting it to other transit cities or opening direct flights between the two countries," the statement read. It adds that any fifth freedom flights (from any one of Kazakhstan's designated international airports) would operate under the provisions of that country's open skies framework. Setiaputra told ch-aviation there would be a formal announcement on the new flights soon.

In addition to Seoul, Air Astana schedules passenger flights to Beijing Capital, Singapore Changi, Chengdu Tianfu, and Ho Chi Minh City on the Asian continent. In contrast, Garuda's long haul network has shrunk in the wake of its restructuring. Its only scheduled flights west of Indonesia are to Amsterdam Schiphol, Jeddah, and Madinah.